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FW: Teacher Union Faults City Budget Targeting Educators For Brunt of Proposed Municipal Layoffs

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  • Leonie Haimson
    From: UFT Press [mailto:UFTPress@uft.org] Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 4:59 PM To: UFT Press Subject: Teacher Union Faults City Budget Targeting Educators
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 30, 2009
    • 0 Attachment

      From: UFT Press [mailto:UFTPress@...]
      Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 4:59 PM
      To: UFT Press
      Subject: Teacher Union Faults City Budget Targeting Educators For Brunt of Proposed Municipal Layoffs

       

       

       

      Ron Davis                     (212) 598-9201 (O)                             January 30, 2009

                                          (917) 796-1305 (C)

       

      Peter Kadushin             (212) 510-6463 (O)                

                                          (917) 453-8684 (C)

       

       

      Teacher Union Faults City Budget Targeting Educators

      For Brunt of Proposed Municipal Layoffs

       

      New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to lay off more than 15,000 public school educators if the city does not get the state and federal aid it seeks would hurt a generation of students and cripple the school system, to say nothing about the havoc it would wreak on the lives of the dedicated teachers the system has asked to come and make careers here, United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said today.

       

      Responding to the mayor’s plan to have educators account for 15,630 of a proposed cut of 19,650 positions – almost 80 percent – in the annual city budget he issued today, Weingarten said, “Every time we lay off a teacher it is a direct service cut to children.”

       

      “I am astonished that at the very same time that President Obama is making public education a first priority, the city is seemingly making education a last priority,” she said.

       

      “We know times are tough and that everyone needs to share in making sacrifices, but this is shockingly disproportionate and unfair,” said Weingarten at a press conference at the Lower Manhattan headquarters of the 200,000-member union representing New York City ’s public school educators.

       

      “The union has pledged, and indeed has been, working together with the mayor on the federal recovery and on ensuring we get a fair share from Albany ,” Weingarten said, “But making virtually all our first, second and third-year teachers pawns in this political battle is callous and unfair to them and their students. Worse, in blaming Albany , the city itself masks the magnitude of its own cuts.”

       

      Weingarten noted that the city received an additional $600 million in state education aid last year only to have the city cut education by more than $400 million, and the city is planning to cut almost $943 million in the next school year.

       

      “Not since the 1970s have there been teacher layoffs of anything remotely like this, and at that time all city workers shared the pain,” Weingarten told reporters while accompanied by some of the newer teachers who would be at risk of losing their jobs if the proposal is implemented.

       

      “This would be devastating for me,” said Rob Walsh, a third-year teacher from PS 19 in Manhattan . “I struggled to be a teacher. I always wanted to be able to give back to the community. More importantly, the children would be losing so much. We are in an increasingly competitive world and we need to give kids everything we can and not take anything away.”

       

      “Class sizes are already bulging at the seams,” said Tiffany Braby, a four-year teacher from MS 319 in Manhattan . “If we lose 15,000 teachers that will have a seriously detrimental effect on students.”

       

      Weingarten acknowledged the difficult position Mayor Bloomberg faces in trying to cope with the current fiscal crisis, but said this proposal is totally misguided.

       

      “Separate and apart from the chaos and the service cuts this would mean for next year, if this proposal were enacted, new teachers will not want to apply to work here because they won’t know what’s going to happen to them. And we are going to lose thousands of excellent teachers that the city Department of Education hired and spent money to train because they are going to look for other jobs. After the 1975 fiscal crisis, of the 10,000 teachers asked to return only 3,000 accepted.

       

      “And this is what it would mean for next year: Anyone with three or fewer years of service would probably lose their jobs if the city goes through with this threat. There’s no way that we could lose that many teachers and not have it affect the quality of education in our schools and raise class sizes. It will be only the beginning of a decline that could hamper our school system for years to come and send middle-class families elsewhere,” she said.

       

      Weingarten welcomed the city’s efforts to lobby Albany and Washington for much needed aid, noting that the UFT and its national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, have been fervently lobbying Congress to pass the federal economic stimulus package proposed by the Obama Administration.

       

      But she added that the city should consider other alternatives to layoffs if such aid is not realized and take its share of responsibility for finding cost savings.

       

      “If this is necessary then the city can prove it by implementing an immediate hiring freeze, a retirement incentive and other cost-saving measures we have proposed that would equal $931 million and therefore avoid layoffs, she said. For example, the union estimates that a hiring freeze alone could save the city $406 million in payroll costs plus fringe benefits. And there are 25,000 educators who could be offered a retirement incentive that could save $300 million. Reducing administrative costs could result in another $225 million being saved, she said.

       

      “The city should not repeat the mistakes of the Seventies when education was cut so badly that it took the school system decades to recover,” Weingarten said. “Children don’t get a second chance for a good education, which is why we need to make sure our schools are not hammered by huge cuts in the teaching force and harmful reductions in services to classrooms. The city should be investing in schools, not cutting, because the future of New York City , the state and the nation depends on a well-educated society and work force.”

       

      Weingarten noted that in addition to fighting for a stimulus package in Washington and fighting budget cuts in Albany , the UFT and dozens of other unions, advocacy organizations and civic groups have formed a coalition that is trying to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers – children, the elderly and the needy – from budget cuts. The coalition is planning a massive March 5 rally for a fair budget for all New Yorkers outside City Hall.

       

      ###

       

       

      *******************************************************************************

      The views, opinions, and judgments expressed in this message are solely those of the author. The message contents have not been reviewed or approved by the UFT.

      *******************************************************************************

    • pinesmoon
      But, but, but President Weingarten I thought we had such a good working relationship with the Mayor. I mean we had seemed to bend over (backwards) to be
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 30, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        But, but, but President Weingarten I thought we had such a good
        working relationship with the Mayor. I mean we had seemed to bend
        over (backwards) to be collegial and good partners on issues like
        merit pay and work rules and so many other things.

        I'm just shocked to know that we are now being stung by our friend.
        Maybe there's a lesson in this old children's fable.

        The Scorpion and the Frog

        A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
        scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
        frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion
        says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

        The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
        the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
        paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
        but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

        Replies the scorpion: "Its my nature..."

        Let's stop being the frog Ms. Weingarten. The members of the American
        Federation of Teachers would like to stop being the frog Ms.
        Weingarten. Resist the corporate assault on the public education!
        Resist the business model for schools, charters, vouchers, data
        driven instruction, merit pay, standardized testing, and the paying
        of students to consume the corporate version of knowledge. Resist!

        Paul A. Moore
        United Teachers of Dade (AFT-NEA-FEA)
        Vice President for High Schools


        --- In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, "Leonie Haimson"
        <leonie@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        > From: UFT Press [mailto:UFTPress@...]
        > Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 4:59 PM
        > To: UFT Press
        > Subject: Teacher Union Faults City Budget Targeting Educators For
        Brunt of
        > Proposed Municipal Layoffs
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Ron Davis (212) 598-9201 (O)
        > January 30, 2009
        >
        > (917) 796-1305 (C)
        >
        >
        >
        > Peter Kadushin (212) 510-6463 (O)
        >
        > (917) 453-8684 (C)
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Teacher Union Faults City Budget Targeting Educators
        >
        > For Brunt of Proposed Municipal Layoffs
        >
        >
        >
        > New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to lay off more
        than 15,000
        > public school educators if the city does not get the state and
        federal aid
        > it seeks would hurt a generation of students and cripple the school
        system,
        > to say nothing about the havoc it would wreak on the lives of the
        dedicated
        > teachers the system has asked to come and make careers here, United
        > Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said today.
        >
        >
        >
        > Responding to the mayor's plan to have educators account for 15,630
        of a
        > proposed cut of 19,650 positions - almost 80 percent - in the
        annual city
        > budget he issued today, Weingarten said, "Every time we lay off a
        teacher it
        > is a direct service cut to children."
        >
        >
        >
        > "I am astonished that at the very same time that President Obama is
        making
        > public education a first priority, the city is seemingly making
        education a
        > last priority," she said.
        >
        >
        >
        > "We know times are tough and that everyone needs to share in making
        > sacrifices, but this is shockingly disproportionate and unfair,"
        said
        > Weingarten at a press conference at the Lower Manhattan
        headquarters of the
        > 200,000-member union representing New York City's public school
        educators.
        >
        >
        >
        > "The union has pledged, and indeed has been, working together with
        the mayor
        > on the federal recovery and on ensuring we get a fair share from
        Albany,"
        > Weingarten said, "But making virtually all our first, second and
        third-year
        > teachers pawns in this political battle is callous and unfair to
        them and
        > their students. Worse, in blaming Albany, the city itself masks the
        > magnitude of its own cuts."
        >
        >
        >
        > Weingarten noted that the city received an additional $600 million
        in state
        > education aid last year only to have the city cut education by more
        than
        > $400 million, and the city is planning to cut almost $943 million
        in the
        > next school year.
        >
        >
        >
        > "Not since the 1970s have there been teacher layoffs of anything
        remotely
        > like this, and at that time all city workers shared the pain,"
        Weingarten
        > told reporters while accompanied by some of the newer teachers who
        would be
        > at risk of losing their jobs if the proposal is implemented.
        >
        >
        >
        > "This would be devastating for me," said Rob Walsh, a third-year
        teacher
        > from PS 19 in Manhattan. "I struggled to be a teacher. I always
        wanted to be
        > able to give back to the community. More importantly, the children
        would be
        > losing so much. We are in an increasingly competitive world and we
        need to
        > give kids everything we can and not take anything away."
        >
        >
        >
        > "Class sizes are already bulging at the seams," said Tiffany Braby,
        a
        > four-year teacher from MS 319 in Manhattan. "If we lose 15,000
        teachers that
        > will have a seriously detrimental effect on students."
        >
        >
        >
        > Weingarten acknowledged the difficult position Mayor Bloomberg
        faces in
        > trying to cope with the current fiscal crisis, but said this
        proposal is
        > totally misguided.
        >
        >
        >
        > "Separate and apart from the chaos and the service cuts this would
        mean for
        > next year, if this proposal were enacted, new teachers will not
        want to
        > apply to work here because they won't know what's going to happen
        to them.
        > And we are going to lose thousands of excellent teachers that the
        city
        > Department of Education hired and spent money to train because they
        are
        > going to look for other jobs. After the 1975 fiscal crisis, of the
        10,000
        > teachers asked to return only 3,000 accepted.
        >
        >
        >
        > "And this is what it would mean for next year: Anyone with three or
        fewer
        > years of service would probably lose their jobs if the city goes
        through
        > with this threat. There's no way that we could lose that many
        teachers and
        > not have it affect the quality of education in our schools and
        raise class
        > sizes. It will be only the beginning of a decline that could hamper
        our
        > school system for years to come and send middle-class families
        elsewhere,"
        > she said.
        >
        >
        >
        > Weingarten welcomed the city's efforts to lobby Albany and
        Washington for
        > much needed aid, noting that the UFT and its national affiliate, the
        > American Federation of Teachers, have been fervently lobbying
        Congress to
        > pass the federal economic stimulus package proposed by the Obama
        > Administration.
        >
        >
        >
        > But she added that the city should consider other alternatives to
        layoffs if
        > such aid is not realized and take its share of responsibility for
        finding
        > cost savings.
        >
        >
        >
        > "If this is necessary then the city can prove it by implementing an
        > immediate hiring freeze, a retirement incentive and other cost-
        saving
        > measures we have proposed that would equal $931 million and
        therefore avoid
        > layoffs, she said. For example, the union estimates that a hiring
        freeze
        > alone could save the city $406 million in payroll costs plus fringe
        > benefits. And there are 25,000 educators who could be offered a
        retirement
        > incentive that could save $300 million. Reducing administrative
        costs could
        > result in another $225 million being saved, she said.
        >
        >
        >
        > "The city should not repeat the mistakes of the Seventies when
        education was
        > cut so badly that it took the school system decades to recover,"
        Weingarten
        > said. "Children don't get a second chance for a good education,
        which is why
        > we need to make sure our schools are not hammered by huge cuts in
        the
        > teaching force and harmful reductions in services to classrooms.
        The city
        > should be investing in schools, not cutting, because the future of
        New York
        > City, the state and the nation depends on a well-educated society
        and work
        > force."
        >
        >
        >
        > Weingarten noted that in addition to fighting for a stimulus
        package in
        > Washington and fighting budget cuts in Albany, the UFT and dozens
        of other
        > unions, advocacy organizations and civic groups have formed a
        coalition that
        > is trying to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers - children,
        the elderly
        > and the needy - from budget cuts. The coalition is planning a
        massive March
        > 5 rally for a fair budget for all New Yorkers outside City Hall.
        >
        >
        >
        > ###
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        **********************************************************************
        ******
        > ***
        >
        > The views, opinions, and judgments expressed in this message are
        solely
        > those of the author. The message contents have not been reviewed or
        approved
        > by the UFT.
        >
        >
        **********************************************************************
        ******
        > ***
        >
      • norscot@aol.com
        How ironic to see the UFT singing those collaboration blues. Here is Vera Pavone s response to Weingarten s letter sent to teachers published at ed notes:
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 30, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          How ironic to see the UFT singing those collaboration blues.

          Here is Vera Pavone's response to Weingarten's letter sent to teachers published at ed notes:

          Responding to Randi
          by guest blogger, Vera Pavone


          By now you have all received a Dear Colleagues letter from President Weingarten calling for you to sign up in a “union campaign” in response to the looming cutbacks. Some comments on her statements (italics):

          Unemployment…is expected to reach 9 percent in 2010.

          What about the real unemployment situation? Including part time and discouraged workers? Where have our union historians and analysts been in recent years when many economists have been pointing out a real unemployment rate of between 9 and 12%, indicating a structural problem that would eventually have a huge impact on effective demand? And then, the widespread destruction of higher paid union jobs which left many workers with significantly lower incomes. All of which, in turn contributed to the explosion of private debt, the financial bubble, and the predictable collapse.

          At least 46 states are facing huge budget deficits... In Albany, the deficit for the upcoming fiscal year has reached more than $15 billion.

          What about the decades-long shortchanging of cities and public services as a result of taxation and spending policies? Examples, lower federal taxes on rich, states forced to pick up costs formerly paid by federal government, huge military spending, federal subsidies for corporate giants like farming and oil monopolies, and NYC subsidies to wealthy real estate and business interests. Why didn’t the union join the call for a stock-transfer tax, which would have tapped into all the profitable speculative trading?

          Between the city and state, education is slated for more than $1.5 billion in cutbacks.

          Where was the money when the city was rich? Why weren’t new schools built and why weren’t CFE funds spent where they were mandated to be spent—in the schools? Now we have nothing to give up. Many of our schools are already overcrowded; our class sizes are already too large, children have to travel miles all over the city because schools haven’t been built in neighborhoods with expanding populations, adding enormous transportation costs on to the education bills. Not to mention the cost of a growing education bureaucracy dedicated to excessive testing, data manipulation, administrative policies punitive toward teachers, demoralization of staff, and harassment of senior teachers. Then there is the costly chaos of closing large schools, opening up small ones, hiring four principals for one school building, repeatedly changing the bureaucratic structure, and hiring costly educational experts and monitors, with their checklists and buzzwords but nary a clue about what to do to make our schools more effective.

          Predictably, the calls are already going out to reduced pensions and health benefits.

          Why hasn’t our union joined the nationwide voices that are calling for universal health care? Where is a union-led movement to make social security more of a safety net for retirees by raising the income ceiling on taxable income and increasing benefits? Where were our union-designated pension board members when our pension funds were being put at risk through speculative investment?

          A major call to action…a powerful public information, lobbying and action campaign…calling for… federal help and some additional fair taxes…and a hard look at the expenditure side to prioritize the classroom…[and identify] alternative education savings including downsizing the DOE’s vast testing apparatus… [and] the possibility of a retirement incentive.

          Here are battles that should have begun long ago. Fair taxes? Where was the union when the upper tax rate was reduced from 39% to 35% at a time when the income gap between rich and poor was increasing greatly? Where was the union when the Bush administration launched a war that is expected to cost us three trillion dollars? Where was the union when successive administrations and congressional regimes paved the way for the eroding of our real economy through a free trade race to the bottom, the proliferation of offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes, and the destruction of a responsible banking system through deregulation? As for the vast testing apparatus, this is only one of the many boondoggles that have enriched corporate friends of the mayor and chancellor at the expense of our school system and our union members.

          An effective call to action necessitates:

              * clear economic demands, not just begging for a few crumbs: raising income and corporate taxes on the wealthy, closing tax loopholes and eliminating most subsidies, and re-directing federal money to states and municipalities
              *

              * mobilization of the entire labor movement nationwide to fight on behalf of workers (non-union and union) for jobs and services, universal health care, portable pensions, and adequate social security
              *

              * a call for an end to the war in Iraq and a drastic downsizing of military expenditures
              *

              * a campaign to end mayoral control and to replace the present DOE bureaucracy with a non-politicized, elected, responsible and accountable body of educational leaders who have the support of parents and teachers.

          In a message dated 1/30/09 5:01:38 PM, leonie@... writes:




          From: UFT Press [mailto:UFTPress@ UFT Pres
          Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 4:59 PM
          To: UFT Press
          Subject: <st1> <st1 <st1 <st Budget Targeting Educators For Brunt of Proposed Municipal Layoffs




          Ron Davis                    (212) 598-9201 (O)                                             
                                              (917) 796-1305 (C)

          Peter Kadushin            (212) 510-6463 (O)                
                                              (917) 453-8684 (C)



          Teacher <st1 <st1 <st Budget Targeting Educators
          For Brunt of Proposed Municipal Layoffs
           

          New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to lay off more than 15,000 public school educators if the city does not get the state and federal aid it seeks would hurt a generation of students and cripple the school system, to say nothing about the havoc it would wreak on the lives of the dedicated teachers the system has asked to come and make careers here, United Federation of Teachers President New York City May said today.

          Responding to the mayor’s plan to have educators account for 15,630 of a proposed cut of 19,650 positions – almost 80 percent – in the annual city budget he issued today, Weingarten said, “Every time we lay off a teacher it is a direct service cut to children.”

          “I am astonished that at the very same time that President Obama is making public education a first priority, the city is seemingly making education a last priority,” she said.

          “We know times are tough and that everyone needs to share in making sacrifices, but this is shockingly disproportionate and unfair,” said Weingarten at a press conference at the Lower Manhattan headquarters of the 200,000-member union representing “We know time’s public school educators.

          “The union has pledged, and indeed has been, working together with the mayor on the federal recovery and on ensuring we get a fair share from “The u,” Weingarten said, “But making virtually all our first, second and third-year teachers pawns in this political battle is callous and unfair to them and their students. Worse, in blaming ,” Wei, the city itself masks the magnitude of its own cuts.”

          Weingarten noted that the city received an additional $600 million in state education aid last year only to have the city cut education by more than $400 million, and the city is planning to cut almost $943 million in the next school year.

          “Not since the 1970s have there been teacher layoffs of anything remotely like this, and at that time all city workers shared the pain,” Weingarten told reporters while accompanied by some of the newer teachers who would be at risk of losing their jobs if the proposal is implemented.

          “This would be devastating for me,” said Rob Walsh, a third-year teacher from PS 19 in “This wou. “I struggled to be a teacher. I always wanted to be able to give back to the community. More importantly, the children would be losing so much. We are in an increasingly competitive world and we need to give kids everything we can and not take anything away.”

          “Class sizes are already bulging at the seams,” said Tiffany Braby, a four-year teacher from MS 319 in “Class si. “If we lose 15,000 teachers that will have a seriously detrimental effect on students.”

          Weingarten acknowledged the difficult position Mayor Bloomberg faces in trying to cope with the current fiscal crisis, but said this proposal is totally misguided.

          “Separate and apart from the chaos and the service cuts this would mean for next year, if this proposal were enacted, new teachers will not want to apply to work here because they won’t know what’s going to happen to them. And we are going to lose thousands of excellent teachers that the city Department of Education hired and spent money to train because they are going to look for other jobs. After the 1975 fiscal crisis, of the 10,000 teachers asked to return only 3,000 accepted.

          “And this is what it would mean for next year: Anyone with three or fewer years of service would probably lose their jobs if the city goes through with this threat. There’s no way that we could lose that many teachers and not have it affect the quality of education in our schools and raise class sizes. It will be only the beginning of a decline that could hamper our school system for years to come and send middle-class families elsewhere,” she said.

          Weingarten welcomed the city’s efforts to lobby Weinga and and <st1> for much needed aid, noting that the UFT and its national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, have been fervently lobbying Congress to pass the federal economic stimulus package proposed by the Obama Administration.

          But she added that the city should consider other alternatives to layoffs if such aid is not realized and take its share of responsibility for finding cost savings.

          “If this is necessary then the city can prove it by implementing an immediate hiring freeze, a retirement incentive and other cost-saving measures we have proposed that would equal $931 million and therefore avoid layoffs, she said. For example, the union estimates that a hiring freeze alone could save the city $406 million in payroll costs plus fringe benefits. And there are 25,000 educators who could be offered a retirement incentive that could save $300 million. Reducing administrative costs could result in another $225 million being saved, she said.

          “The city should not repeat the mistakes of the Seventies when education was cut so badly that it took the school system decades to recover,” Weingarten said. “Children don’t get a second chance for a good education, which is why we need to make sure our schools are not hammered by huge cuts in the teaching force and harmful reductions in services to classrooms. The city should be investing in schools, not cutting, because the future of “The city shoul, the state and the nation depends on a well-educated society and work force.”

          Weingarten noted that in addition to fighting for a stimulus package in Weingarten and fighting budget cuts in and f, the UFT and dozens of other unions, advocacy organizations and civic groups have formed a coalition that is trying to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers – children, the elderly and the needy – from budget cuts. The coalition is planning a massive March 5 rally for a fair budget for all New Yorkers outside City Hall.









          Norm

          Commentary on education and politics

          http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/

          Robotics in New York City
          http://normsrobotics.blogspot.com/




          **************
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